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Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2002 Mar-Apr;68(2):67-72.

Acanthosis nigricans: a dermatologic marker of metabolic disease.

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Dept of Endocrinology, TN Medical College & BYL Nair Ch. Hospito, Mumbai-400 008, India.


Most patients with acanthosis nigricans have either clinical or subclinical insulin resistance. We undertook a study to estimate the insulin sensitivity of a group of patients referred from the dermatologist with biopsy proven acanthosis nigricans. Thirty-six patients were evaluated in the Endocrinology clinic. Plasma glucose and serum Insulin levels were estimated after a 75 gms oral glucose load (OGTT). An intravenous Insulin Tolerance Test (ITT) was performed with measurement of Glucose Disposal Rate (GDR). There were 28 females and 8 males (M:F--3.5:1; mean age 26.3+/-1.7 years) in the study. 25/36 patients were morbidly obese (BMI--36.0 +/- 1.2 Kg/m2) with an abnormal body fat distribution (WH ratio--0.9 +/ - 0.02). One patient had generalized lipoatrophy. 16/36 patients with acanthosis nigricans had IGT or overt diabetes and all had highly significant hyperinsulinemia (AUCI = 20825 +/ 1287.7 vs. 6340.0 +/- 984.2 mIU/ml/hr in controls, p < 0.0005). The GDR in patients with acanthosis nigricans was reduced (-0.66 +/- 0.07) compared to controls (-0.39 +/- 0.08; p < 0.01). There was a significant positive correlation between indices of adiposity and insulin resistance in subjects with impaired tolerance.

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